tv Charlie Rose PBS October 18, 2014 12:00am-1:01am EDT
>> charlie: well come to the program. we begin this evening with richard cohen, his new book is called "israel: is it good for the jews." >> i use the word mistake, which was a mistake. that was a big mistake, but i couldn't come up with another word to describe the plight of israel as being a nation of 6 million jews surrounded by, i don't know, 100 million arabs, whatever the figure may be, and this continuing, incessant warfare which was going on and on and on. the reaction was incredible. i got my head taken off. a lot of people were very angry at me. >> charlie: continuing with ron lauder, talking about egon n schiele: portraits." >> egon schiele was a great painter of portraits.
he died at 28. in eight years he produced a body of work that was phenomenal and is one of the three major austrian artists we have in neue galerie. and he is unique. we have opened a show of portraits. his portraits have so much power, so interesting. his self-portraits, even, full of sex and errot cism. >> charlie: we conclude with tory burch, fashion designer and entrepreneur. >> in five years, three stores, that was the business plan. i had big hopes and aspirations. when i was trying to raise money and wanted to start a brand, i had no idea. >> charlie: you thought ralph lauren. >> yeah, i knew i wanted to start a foundation and be part of the business plan.
>> charlie: richard cohen, ron lauder and tory burch next. captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose. >> charlie: richard cohen is here. he is a nationally syndicated columnist for "the washington post," sparked a controversy in 2006 when he opened his column with this sentence "the greatest
mistake israel could make at the moment is to forget israel is a mistake." the response prompted him to explore his own history in a new book, "israel: is it good for the jews." pleased to have richard cohen at this table. well come. >> good to be here. >> charlie: tell me about that 2006 column and what happened afterward. >> well, i wrote it in the course of israel was once again at war this time with hesbollah in the north and you could see the pattern going back and forth, incessant war and terrorism. i used the word "mistake" which was a big mistake. but i couldn't come up with another word to describe the plight of israel as being a nation of 6 million jews surrounded by, i don't know, 100 million arabs, whatever the figure may b and this continuing incessant warfare which was going on and on. the reaction was incredible. i mean, i got my head taken off.
a lot of people were very angry at me. >> charlie: what did they say and who were they? i don't mean specific names but where were they coming from and -- >> well, i mean, it was readers. and then also people who just happen to know me. i'i remember one guy stopped men the street and said, i heard you wrote this. so it was out there kind of in rumorville. but there were others who were more disturbing to me which were people i thought were sympathetic to israel who embraced me as someone who had gone over to the other side and now critical of israel. here was a jew who was critical of israel and i was embraced for that. >> charlie: and they were saying, you said what i'm thinking? >> yeah, it made me very uncomfortable because it wasn't what i was thinking. >> charlie: because you used the wrong word? >> i used the wrong word. i don't know to this day what's a better word for saying, look, in effect, if you wanted to find a place in the world that was
safe and secure, you picked the wrong place. >> charlie: so what was there between that time and the response of that column and the beginning of this book? >> well, you know, time went by and i decided i was going to expand the column. as i started to expand on the column and do reading and look into what the situation was, i came around to changing my mind because i don't think israel is a mistake. i think it was inevitability and has great utility and essential. the second thing is history opened itself up. i became enraptured by it and i became very impressed not by the hole ho cost -- we all know about the holocaust and israel is the creation of the holocaust -- that's not it. there were two periods that were as important, one is the period before the holocaust in europe and the other after the holocaust in europe. by the time the holocaust
started, there were already 750,000 european jews living in what became israel so it wasn't created because to have the holocaust, it was already in existence. in fact, there had been jewish settlers there for hundreds of years and starting in the 1880s, an increasing number of jewish settlers coming in from what was russia. so a lot of these people who were in europe in between the two wars who were living in these new nations that had been created by the collapse of the ottoman empire or the austrian-hungarian empire, the german empire, doesn't matter, the point is, these new democracies became rigidly antisemitic, that they went from a promised democracy to being authoritarian regimes that were belligerently antisemitic and many of the jews living in poland, hungary, rumania, needed
to get out. >> charlie: and brought home to you when you went to a small village and traced one person who went to auschwitz and came back. >> i went to the town where my mother was born. my mother died two years ago, over 100.i3 my mother was an immigrant from poland. i went back to her town, where she was born, and there were no jews left. this town had been 50% jewish. they were all killed. but there was talk about one man who had come back after the war to reclaim his business and he was killed on the spot. i thought this was an anomaly, that this was a unique event. when i read about this period, i realized there were many jews killed after the holocaust because they went home, tried to reclaim their property, their house, and killed on the spot. in poland, something like 1500
jews -- >> charlie: after the war was over. >> after the war was over, the hatred was not. the holocaust was over but the killing of jews persisted. this time it was done by local people in eastern european countries, so the jews who survived and walked out of auschwitz, the pitiful few and they went into displaced person camps usually in southern germany run by the great general patton, right, and these people could not go home, they were afraid to go home. they had nowhere to go. the united states raised the barrier for immigration for anybody from eastern or southern europe so they couldn't get in. some jews did, most didn't. they needed a place. they wanted to go to palestine not because they were safe because they knew things were dicey there, but they felt at
home. >> charlie: and they knew they were going into a middle of a land where people were not like them. >> yes. these were educated people for the most part. they knew what was going on. but they also felt they belonged there, that people there would look after them and protect them. i can't imagine, nobody can, i guess, what it was like to survive the holocaust and then go home and be afraid of your neighbors. to say when does the killing sop? when do people relent and forgive me for being a jew? >> charlie: what's interesting about this and the book, for me, is this is not a book about the ebb and flow of newspaper headlines, this is a book in which you went back and read more history than you imagined you would. one story led to another and another investigation on your part. you came out with an ability to answer this question or not? >> yeah. yeah. the answer to that question is yes. i mean, is israel good for the
jews? yes. the other thing i came out of this book with was a real appreciation of antisemitism. that it is a powerful force that persists. >> charlie: today? today. i compare it to almost ebola. it's a passage. you beat it back. think it's gone and then it comes up again at you. first of all the islamic world is deeply antisemitic and has been for a long time. the people are writing and talking in the islamic world the way they used to in germany in the '30s. >> when you say that in a broad brush, the islamic world, you're talking about a particular part of the islamic world. >> yeah, not indonesia. >> charlie: right. radicalism. >> no, no, i'm talking about in general i am not talking about radicals. >> antisemitic. well, if you talk to people in the arab countries and you will see there's a level of acceptable antisemitism that
nobody makes a big deal about. i cite in the book, for instance, i was in jordan for some conference and i open up the jordan times which english language newspaper, this was several years ago, and i read an account of what happened on september of 2001, september 9th, 2001, and you know what that was all about? what was about the massad organizing that terrorist attack because no jews were killed in a terrorist attack on the world trade center which is blatantently untrue. it was just ridiculous. somehow every jew was told to get out of the place before the attack. this runs in the jordanian paper. those are papers are censored. i don't know whether it was literally approved by the palace but it was accepted. people understood ump not offending the censors if you put that in the paper. this is endemic in the arab
world. >> charlie: i had a conversation with them when i went there, can you believe what ahmadinejad was saying, who did not want to take the holocaust as genocide any different than any other genocide and was essentially angry, you know, about where israel had been created. so i said to this head of state, i said, can you believe what he's saying? he said, yeah, a lot of people do feel that way. it's something i talk about in the book because you don't get it from diplomats. you know, you go to dinner with diplomats in nashington. you well remember, the madison hotel. i call it the madison hotel syndrome, used to go to lunches with arab diplomats, some of which i considered friends, and didn't get that kind of language and they wouldn't have approved. back home, it was what's called double discourse, saying one thing in one place and another
in another. >> charlie: antisemitism is not limited to the arab world. >> well, you see a revival of it now certainly in england and europe and even in germany. i mean, i have been to germany a lot and there was a time i thought this would never come back to germany because the german government was doing all the right things -- education, memorials, observing holocaust, all this sort of stuff -- but it's coming out now and from what i'm reading a lot of reports about the rise of antisemitism. i just think antisemitism is the world's greatest conspiracy theory. it can account for anything. you know, you can blame jews for almost anything that happens to you, happens to your government, happens to the economy and society. >> charlie: israel today is not a country that you don't find fault with. >> no, i find a lot of fault with israel. >> charlie: all right. i don't like the continued occupation, if that's the right word. you never know what words to use anymore. the west bank, i think that's a mistake. i think adding to the settlements is a mistake. >> charlie: you're using the
word "mistake again." >> these are are mistakes. >> charlie: you used the word mistake in the first place, just seemed like a natural -- >> right. but i've always been critical of that. i thought when israel took the west bank, it lost it's moral monopoly. all of a sudden it's an occupation power. even benign occupation powers have to do certain things. they are riots, have to beat back -- you know, this has been tough. >> charlie: and the argument goes, it does something to your own psyche of the occupier. >> i think it does. i think it makes the troops -- i think they become calloused. the reports in israel, troops who won't serve in the west bank. reservists who won't go there. there's a good deal of pushback. i wouldn't say universal but some opposition to it. some israelis know exactly what they want, they want the west bank -- >> charlie: is that the majority? >> no. but the west bank is the israel of the bible.
it's not tel aviv. tel aviv is something new under the sun. tel aviv is miami beach. doesn't matter. the west bank of the bible is jericho, hebron, jerusalem, that's the heartland, that's the spiritual center. very orthodox, religious people want the west bank. extreme nationalists want the west bank. the rest of the israelis are sort of caught in between, they don't know what the do. if i lived in israel, i would say, let's get out of the west bank. but it's easier to say on a day-to-day basis let's do nothing because, when they got out overgaza, what they got by way of thank you was rockets. >> charlie: do you think the israeli government would get out of west bank if they believed they were secure within the 67 boundaries? give or take? >> yeah. >> charlie: if they were confident and convinced of their own security -- >> yes. >> charlie: -- they don't want to occupy the west bank.
>> yes, i firmly -- >> charlie: the government today, i'm not saying everybody in israel. >> no, no, no. i firmly -- oh, the present government? >> charlie: yeah. i don't know about the present government. if you say the israeli people by and large, i would say yes. the present government is a difference. it's a little bit mystery to me. i mean, bibi netanyahu is the son of benzion netanyahu who was so far to the right, very radical, but incredibly intelligent and a scholar but his politics were not mine by a long shot and he was the private secretary of zeb jabatinsky who is the representation of right wing politics in israel. he's been dead since 1940 but lives on. >> charlie: what did you learn looking to the life of herzl? >> herzl is a fascinating guy. herzl is the man who sort of created secular zionism at the
end of the 19th century. he is so self- possessed, so sure of himself and has a vision and created something no one thought possible. he lived up the street from sigmund freud in vienna, and if he knew freud i believe he would have said see me every day. herzl was a secular jew, not religious at all. he didn't want to circumstance size his son which is a sacred commandment. he felt being jewish was so oppressive. owing up in vienna in the 19t 19th century and wanting to be a member of society, he was a talented man and a journalist. some journalists are talented, and, yet, wherever he went, he was confronted about.
this he went to cover the dreyfus trial. >> charlie: what happened? it created antisemitism in france and dreyfus who was an officer was framed and he was framed because he was jewish. herzl is sitting in paris which is the most liberal city in europe, the most liberal city in the world, and you have this eruption of antisemitism and i think it set him back saying, if it happens here, it can happen anywhere. >> charlie: i have to go get on with my zionist plan. >> we have to find a refuge, a safe place for jews. >> charlie: what do you want people to get out of this? you've done this research, read history, come to the conclusion that israel is good for the jews, yet at the same time there is, throughout this book at the end, real concern. >> yes. >> charlie: about the future.
of course, i'm concerned. >> charlie: what is it that concerns you? >> it's still this little place in this big world surround bid a lot of hostility. it's still a place where a lot of people are leaving. you know, there's anywhere from half a million to 750,000 israelis in the united states. now, some of them will go back, some won't. a lot won't. so israel is always in a precarious situation. look, they just ended this thing, whatever it is in gaza. before that, there was a thing in lebanon, and then back and forth. you never know what's going to be next. >> charlie: who won the gaza war? >> well, i think we won't know for a while. if, in fact -- >> charlie: because if the purpose was to destroy hamas, they didn't do it. >> no, they didn't do it. i think they knew they couldn't destroy hamas. but what they could do. >> charlie: destroy tunnels and materials to build rockets.
>> right, but hamas is a perfect example of what i'm talking about. when israel pulled out of gaza, it wasn't hamas that ruled it, it was fatah, right? now it's hamas. hamas took over. >> charlie: because there was an election -- >> and they won. they won the election. so if the same thing happens in west bank, it goes from the palestinian authority to hamas, that's what scares the israelis. it's nine miles between the west bank, that border, and the sea in tel aviv, nine miles. >> charlie: do you think israel has taken sufficient risk to reach a peace agreement as they almost had with -- and the palestinians backed out at camp david with bill clinton, barak and yasser arafat? >> very hard for me to judge. >> charlie: barak was willing to go a long way. >> and rabin probably would have
if he had not been killed. and even sharone pulled out of the gaza strip in real life. >> charlie: also understood the demographics. >> he did. >> charlie: is that part of the reason you worry about the future of the demographics is ariel sharon? >> yes, if israel stays in the west bank, there's 1.7 million to 2 million palestinians in the west bank. there's 2 million palestinians in israel. israel is 20% palestinian. so between the two, you would have a majority in no time at all of palestinians. the only way you can control them is with force. you don't want to do that. this was not herzl's dream. this is not what ben gurion wanted. >> charlie: there's a debate in america among american jews about the power with of american jews on american foreign policy. where do you come down on that? >> well, i think, clearly,
american jews have an influence on american foreign policy. why not? >> charlie: so do american catholics. >> there's a boycott of cuba and it's not because i or you care about cuba so much, it's because a lot of cubans in miami want it that way. >> charlie: that's changing, too. >> everything changes. s in a legitimate impression of political desire. there's nothing wrong with that. we all recoil when the term "jewish lobby" is used. it's weaker than the n.r.a. >> charlie: ho how does media cover what we're talking about? >> there was a lot of criticism in the last go around in gaza about an imbalance, that it was too -- that it was too sympathetic to the palestinians in gaza and too harsh on israel. you can't get around this in a
day and age when the picture is everything. it's a video of kids being killed, video of schools being blown up, accidentally or not, but the fact is they were blown up. you have all these -- this is gripping stuff. on the other side, you don't have anything comparable. so the media covers, just like local media, if it bleeds, it leads, you know, and this becomes the story. so israel, i think, you know, was not treated fairly, but was understandable to me the way it came out. >> charlie: it's interesting when you talk about the obama administration to me because netanyahu and the american ambassador, whether the present, previous ambassadors, always will say that the obama administration, whatever the conflict is with the prime minister and the president, you know, that america's been very sensitive to the military security needs of israel. >> yeah, absolutely. it's been -- that not only
hasn't changed, it's greater. >> charlie: right. "israel: is it good for the jews," richard cohen. good to have you here, thank you. >> glad to be here. >> charlie: ron lauder is here, one of the billionaires to the estee lauder cosmetics fortune, former ambassador to austria and president of the jewish council. president of new york's neue galerie. the current show is egon schiele: portraits, known for draftsmanship and sexually provocative subject matter. he played a role in modernism. he died at 28 of spanish flu. pleased to have ron lauder back. welwelcome. >> thank you. >> charlie: everyone says you have one of the great eyes. what do you think they mean?
>> it'it's something you learn d something you're born with. they showed me ten pieces of art, and i'll pick usually the best one just by chance. i may not even know the artist. and it's a gift. >> charlie: yeah, but you started very early. >> i started as a teenager. at 14. i must tell you, it's the most exciting thing i did, and people walk into a gallery, look over my shoulder and look for my parents, i would be walking in and asking about certain pictures, and when i started collecting egon schiele, some of the drawings were $300 to $500 and the water colors were $1,000 to $3,000, when you could find them, and today the same things
are $150,000 for drawings and up to $10 million for the water colors. so it's amazing. but egon schiele was one of the greatertists, i believe, of the 20th century and unfortunately died at 28, as you said. between 1910 and 1918, those eight years, he produced a body of work that was phenomenal, and he's one of the three major austrian artists in neue galerie. he opened a show of portraits. his portraits have so much power. his self-portraits, even, full of sex and erotism, it's fantastic. >> charlie: what was his genius? >> his genius was to look into a person and feel what that person felt. >> charlie: and express it with his hand. >> and express it with his hands
and be able to express it with a certain power. he also had no inhibitions to show people as they were. >> charlie: he came under the influence of gustav? >> in the beginning. some of the early paintings you can see very much influence. then by 1910 he started to do his own thing and it was amazing. those pictures of 1910 with the red bodies and the people with contorted arms, it's truly amazing. >> charlie: and the curator of this is alexandra comini? >> yes. she is spectacular. the whole staff of the neue galerie is very special, particularly director reneée price, and together they put together the show which the first night they opened, i think there was a three-hour wait to get in, and it's because egon schiele is such a unique artist.
>> charlie: he's unique because of what? >> first of all, when he did this work in 1910, no one has done that kind of work, and he showed people in a crude, strong way. at the same time, he can show women in a soft way, butteth a juxtaposition of the two different things. >> charlie: he grew up as photography was just becoming widely used. >> yeah. >> charlie: did it influence him? >> i don't know how much it influenced him. he did all his pictures, obviously, with a nude in front of him or the person standing right in front of him. but photography in austria, at that time, was just starting, and it was a whole movement. interesting enough, schiele did not necessarily have that much money, initially, so he would get different models wherever he
could find them. unfortunately, in 1912, because he had used models of younger girls than 16 and younger, he was put into jail. >> charlie: put in prison. put in prison for a short period of time. >> charlie: and one of the rooms in the exhibit was dedicated to that time. >> what's interesting is the work he did in prison was, again, very, very powerful. >> charlie: so prison impacted him? >> very much so. he also was in world war i and you can see some of the drawings he had of russian soldiers he captured, and the basic things of the war, just pictures, again, have a certain power to them. these are only on portraits, but his portraits were the most important thing he did. >> charlie: how was he influenced by the following things: vienna.
>> an explosion of architecture, art, music, everything happening at the turn of the century, and artists were able to express themselves in a strong way. you have artist after artist, and one left unknown because he committed suicide early, but it was an explosion and color was something interesting because they use very much influence. i think by the french, the reds, the greens, the blues, and he was able to take a person's face and paint all the colors and it was unbelievable. feel the angst and the emotion. >> charlie: vienna was the city of mala and freud. >> yes. >> charlie: did they influence him? >> i'm sure they did. it was all together. in the case of vienna at that time, you had the writers
writing about sex. sex played a critical role, obviously, in freud. malan less so, but the whole musician impression was amazing. >> charlie: one of the rooms is about his erotic works. >> yes. >> charlie: where did that come from? >> the fact he wanted to break all the barriers. he did self-portraits of himself naked a lot, and very often he showed important people naked from the waste-up, and you could see them with their hands like this. amazing. >> charlie: when did you buy your first piece? >> when i was 14. >> charlie: is that right? yeah. >> charlie: just attractive to you the idea of -- >> what happened is when i was 13 1/2 i went into a book store on lexington avenue called e.y., and i was looking for a tract i was interested in at that time and i saw egon schiele and i took the book out and started
looking through it. i realized this person was very special. but at that time, nobody had schiele. they didn't know him. most were in private collections. all of a sudden, i found, finally, one schiele drawing, and i paid $600 for it. in fact, years later when i sold it or traded it, ended up in one of the great collections in vienna, fantastic. but my family looked at me and said, our son must be crazy! what is he buying these pictures for? >> charlie: have you wanted to paint? >> i did paint. >> charlie: you did? yes. >> charlie: did you stop or still paint? >> i stopped. >> charlie: why? because you knew too much? >> frankly, i could never compete. i knew too much, right, and also, in order to paint, i believe for any artist, you have to have a certain fire in your
stomach, and i had more of a fire in my stomach to buy great art than i did -- >> charlie: and you were consumed by politics and business and other things as well. >> business came later. politics came sooner. >> charlie: all right. let me take a look at some of these. we've got some we want to show you and we'll come back to more about the artist. the first image is a portrait of gerte schiele. 1909. >> yes. >> charlie: heavily influenced by adelle bower. >> you can see the influence of gustav clint particularly around the waist and the bottom, multi-colored, but, yet, at the same time, schiele was starting to become his own person, and the use of the hand, you can just see a little bit of it there, shows the -- his own influence, and using the black around the back to make it stand
out, you can see how special it was. >> charlie: okay, the next one is a portrait of dr. irwin van grof, 1910. >> he was a gynecologist and, frankly, this picture usually hangs in my home in the sense that it's a powerful picture. you can see his hands, his red face, almost, and the angst there. >> charlie: it is said he painted this in return for an abortion for one of his many mistresses. >> i think the information is very well informed. this is a picture, again. this is the story, we're not sure if it's true or not, but sounds good. >> charlie: the next one is a self-portrait with arm twisted above head. 1910. many of the self-portraits. >> you can see he was very inhibited, very shy, didn't want
to really get out there and be in society. but here he is, he's naked, and with his hand behind his head. look at the pose. the pose is so unique, especially for that time. and people didn't do portraits like that. >> charlie: he was breaking new ground. >> breaking new ground. >> charlie: even one of masturbation? >> yes. he did all kinds of things. one of the things we have in my gallery is limited to who can come in, it's one of the few museums you have to be over a certain age. >> charlie: next is wally in a red blouse, 1913, a portrait of one of his many serious lovers. >> and now he's getting -- he's changing slightly. he's getting away from the 1910 sort of powerful pictures, but he's much more subtle now. but yet it has the same sexual part of it, and we're not sure, we think she was literally lying
on the floor with her legs up like this -- >> charlie: yes. -- and he used this piece more and more, but it's very -- you can just feel the slight eroticism in the face. here's a painting that was never shown in the united states. you can see the use of colors. also here's a portrait where he's gotten softer, but yet the way the portrait is done is so unique because of the way the dress looks. >> charlie: love the colors. fantastic. >> charlie: the family is in 1918. this is the year he died. his wife and unborn child. >> his wife was six months pregnant and she died and he died a few days later. >> charlie: all of the spanish
flu? >> yes. the time he was started to be recognized. >> charlie: 28 years old. 28 years old. again, he's changing his style a little bit. he's become more sensitive in a different way but still has the eroticism of his wife naked in front of him. >> charlie: you paid $135 million for an adelle bower. >> for the galerie, it's a mona lisa, the most special painting we have in the gallery. >> charlie: the most special painting you have, ever? >> in the neue galerie. >> charlie: yes. and the fact is that is a landmark piece by a great artist christopher quinn at the height of his time and there's almost nothing like it. >> charlie: when you say that, what is it you think you see when you say, this is the best of all of the things, this one is the best?
>> again, look at his work, and you say -- i always felt people have three categories, oh, oh my, and oh my god. this is oh my god. >> charlie: yes. and you feel he had a relationship and it took him four years to do the picture, so he must have had a four-year relationship. it's probably one of the most powerful pieces. when the nazis came in, they seized it and it stood in the belvedere for 50, 60 years, and because the austrians lost, finally, and maria altman, who is the niece of the family, finally got it out and went first to california, then came
to neue galerie. >> charlie: you had something to do with that, didn't you? >> i did, i was way in the back. >> charlie: one of your concerns has been the restitution of art plundered and stolen by the nazis. >> what happened is the germans, first of all, when they took art, especially great art, kept very good records, and then the art sort of disappeared into museums and different places. and museums, when they have these things, are very reluctant to open their files and perhaps lose their key pieces. so what happens is a fight. we were pretty much stea stalemd in germany until a few years ago an art dealer for jewish stolen property -- >> charlie: for jewish stolen property.
>> yes, he did other things but this was the main thing, and, at the some reason, at the end of the war, it was -- he was stuck with whatever was left. and then his son took over, and when his son -- because of taxes, somehow they found through this whole cache of paintings and drawings and prints, people have estimated it as much as $1 billion. >> charlie: all in one location? >> all in one location. really two. >> charlie: and none on the walls. >> none on the walls, hidden away. it was really two locations, but the major one was in munich, and there was a whole case i commissioned going through piece by piece to see which were stolen and which were not. but then, at the same time, the german government reacted and they're putting together a commission to go into the various museums and look and see
what was purchased during the 1938 to '45, and the fact is we don't know what's in german museums. we have a good idea there's enough art in there. but many of the museums, particularly the smaller ones, don't want anyone to come in. and this commission is going to investigate each one. we have all the record. very often, some of these paintings were put not in museums but in various walls of different agencies, feel that no one's going to walk in there and see it, but its a pains taking task, but i believe we'll accomplish it. it's in all countries in europe. >> charlie: this is the book for the exhibit now on at the tbearneue galerie, how long wilt be there?
>> until january. i think it's going to be bu onef the most popular shows. on the back, you see another portrait of him and again it's the power of what he's talking about. >> charlie: what's interesting is you're head of the world jewish council. >> congress. >> charlie: congress. and you have a long history in eastern europe win investments and also israel. so there's a lot to talk about in another visit but i just wanted the catch up on this art. thank you. >> thank you. please see the show as soon as you can. well put you at the front of the line. >> charlie: tory burch is here, the c.e.o. and designer of tory burch, a fashion and lifestyle company valued at more than $3 billion ant present in over 50 countries. president obama named her an ambassador for global entrepreneurship earlier this
principle from the way i raise my children to the way i approach my work. explain what that means. >> thinking about color in general, our company has so much color all around. my parents taught me to embrace new, creative thinking. that's something we did, accept all kinds of people, use our imagination, and that really ties into the visual use of color. >> charlie: you have eleven colors including orange, blue, purposing, pink, yellow, white, black, natural and gold. any reason for the colors or colors omitted that were a runner up? >> some definitely were a given. i worked with our fung shway mast tore pick the best colors and put them in his order as well. >> charlie: what's the reason for the success of your company, do you think? >> you know, i think, in the beginning, we reached -- we entered the market and there was a wide space and it was a simple idea for me designing things i
love that didn't cost a fortune. i think when we realized the impact that had, we saw the space was quite large. this area between contemporary and designer, that was open. >> charlie: between contemporary and designer? >> yeah. >> charlie: what's that area? we were considered contemporary but designer is much more expensive. >> charlie: you found a way to give designer input. >> designer feel. >> charlie: what do we need to empower more women? >> well, starting with men, we need to make men part of the conversation. i have three boys. i know you support women's issues. i think it's super important. it should be about the quality of the work, not the gender. >> charlie: what has been the hardest thing in terms of your own journey? >> gaining confidence to really believe in myself was a big one. the first article written on our
company, a friend called and said it was great but you shied away from the word "ambition." she was absolutely right. i was kind of mad at myself because i was raised with three brothers, not knowing there was a difference in what we could do. our parents made us believe we could do anything. and when i looked at the article and myself, i was timid when facing that word and i would love to change it. >> charlie: anna writes about you, who wouldn't want to be tory burch? she's truly a sensational businesswoman. does that part surprise you or was that the easiest part of it? >> no, it surprises me. the whole company surprises me. i set out to do a little store in an off the way street in downtown new york, and five years three stores, possibly, was the business plan. but i had big hopes and aspirations. when i tried to raise money and said i wanted to start a global lifestyle brand, i had no idea. >> charlie: when you say that,
you think landfall lauren. >> yeah, but i knew i wanted to start a foundation and be part of the business plan and i thought global because women with inspire me, not just american women. >> charlie: were there moments after you had the first store you thought, this is not going to work? >> many moments. >> charlie: yeah. we were on a great trajectory of growth in the first few years and that was exciting and the pace was fast. i had three little boys. a lot of balls up in the air, so a lot of figuring out, and clear obstacles in the last ten years. many times. >> charlie: the conflict -- a conflict, a divorce, all these different things. that said. >> charlie: is that behind you? >> totally behind me and everyone. what i learn is when i face conflicts i get more focused and i don't shy away. i face it and get stronger. i had to be a pillar for my company and my family. >> charlie: did it leave scars? take a toll? >> i don't think so. i think i'm an optimist at the
end of the day and trying to make the best of every situation. that said, it was tough going through it. >> charlie: it was in the papers. >> it was in the papers. i was worried about protecting my three sons and stepdaughters and everything around us, so it was tough. >> charlie: that is the dream changed? >> not at all. i often said, i was with an entrepreneur event last week, and i said if you're not dreaming big enough to scare you, you're not dreaming big enough. i feel i have big dreams. >> charlie: your reach should exceed your grasp? >> yes, i guess that's true. i want to have impact with women and helping women. i've always wanted to help people, i thought it would be women and children. i realized if we can help women help themselves, it's not a charity. >> charlie: how do you do that globally? >> starting with the foundation in the u.s. and expanding it, it's important. >> charlie: what are you doing on the ground in asia?
>> we are building our business over there so we have high hopes and -- >> charlie: and are their tastes different than, say, the tastes in the united states, or is exciting exciting, is pretty pretty? >> yes, we design different things for different markets. that said, the best sellers are the best sellers across the board and similar. >> charlie: it's interesting, because whether asia, africa, europe, latin america or the northern hemisphere, the best sellers will sell everywhere. >> in the end it's about the product. >> charlie: yeah. and tell me what your role is today. i mean, is it to be the c.e.o. and run the company or do you have -- because it's who you are, a closeness to design? >> so i, for the last ten years, have been the designer and c.e.o., and that's been very different for our industry. it's usually one or the other. i do have that left-right side
of the brain but i love both and i learn on the job. i surround myself with excellent people who have a lot of skills and i love the design but i also love the business. about a month ago, i made an announcement and hired a co-c.e.o. >> charlie: because you want to focus on what? >> it wasn't because i was looking to fill the role. it was because of the person, a gentleman roger ferra who i admired from afar and made a call and said, can we have breakfast? turns out he just told the place he had been at the last ten years he was leaving. >> charlie: what i love about this story is until you call, you never know. >> no. >> charlie: so you're still very, very young. will there be a time in which you want to say, you know, i created this company, this company grows of its own? >> it's hard. my passion is really tied into this company. beyond that, it's my family,
curiosity, helping things in the world, helping different kinds of people, entrepreneurs who are women, just getting involved and trying to make a difference, but the company is such a passion. i can't really see beyond that. >> charlie: when will you design things for men? soon? >> no, one day. we never got to the thing we talked about designing, the bathing suit. >> charlie: right, exactly. but when you think about the light that you have, is there something missing at all? >> i work very hard, but that said, i also love enjoying vacation a lot. for me, it's finding the balance. as we go, i don't really have a set plan. for me, it's just more of the same until we find new ways of doing it. always evolving, the company always learning myself and pushing in new directions, unexpected ones. so it -- to me, there's not really a set plan in place. >> charlie: and when the idea of the design comes together, i
mean, is it tory or is it tory overseeing a group of people and selecting whatever the best ideas that perk late up from all of them? >> i would say it's both. i mean, for sure, i'm involved in setting the ideas, and then once i -- and i give inspiration. i'm involved in everything i make, i approve. i feel fortunate to be working with such a great group of thinkers. >> charlie: did you once say i want to create a non-bitchy fashion company? >> yes. >> charlie: what's that? it's about being straightforward, knowing where people stand, supporting people, having an environment that respects great work but is also a great place to be. >> charlie: culture is important. >> culculture is everything. >> charlie: creating a place that maximizes a contribution people who are part of the enterprise make. >> if you have happy people, they do their best work. it's pretty simplistic.
>> charlie: how do you do that? >> it's a lot of work. it's a trickle-down effect. we talk about it a lot. we do culture surveys. we listen to what people are writing and saying. it's not easy. we definitely have work to do and always will. that said, we haue 80% of participation in the culture surveys, so we haven't engaged -- maybe out of 2500 employees, maybe 80% participate in the survey. >> charlie: eric schmidt said about you from google, there are always limitations when you have an iconic founder, limitations of time and other thingsers and he said there's only one tory. i assume the idea as you expand is making sure you have key people. >> yes. >> charlie: it becomes almost a -- >> necessity. >> charlie: -- necessity and imperative. >> yes, and we have key people before we hired roger, we have an incredible team. and also we are growing. when you become a different-size
company, different complexities happen. we want to be prepared. >> charlie: great to have you at the table. >> thank you, charley. >> charlie: the book, "tory burch in color." as someone who loves color, you'll see a lot of it here. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> charlie: for more about this program and earlier episodes visit us online at pbs.org and charlierose.com. captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org
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